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The Open: Relative calm greets early starters in final round of The Open

Eddie Pepperell had three birdies in four holes after a poor start.


Poor weather is expected later in the day (Liam McBurney/PA)

Poor weather is expected later in the day (Liam McBurney/PA)

Poor weather is expected later in the day (Liam McBurney/PA)

Cloudy and relatively calm conditions greeted the early starters on the final day of The Open at Royal Portrush but the forecast was not so favourable for leader Shane Lowry and his main challengers.

There were almost as many birdies as pars in the first eight groups as the likes of 49-year-old former Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk opened with two birdies.

England’s Eddie Pepperell had the opposite start, going bogey-bogey, but then bounced back with three birdies in four holes.

Compatriot Paul Waring was three under for five holes, while two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat eagled the par-five second, with first man out Ashton Turner doing the same at the fifth, a driveable par five.

However, none of the early scoring made a dent on the leaderboard, topped by Irishman Lowry on 16 under with a four-stroke advantage over Tommy Fleetwood, the pair both chasing their first major.

Light rain arrived at the course just before 9am with heavier downpours and winds gusting up to 35mph predicted to hit the Dunluce links around lunchtime, meaning the players hoping to catch Lowry – including JB Holmes (10 under), four-time major winner and world number one Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose (both nine under) and Rickie Fowler and Lee Westwood (eight under) – were likely to bear the brunt.

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